The annual horse racing meet at Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino is upon us.
As is tradition, the opening of the meet begins on Memorial Day weekend with racing Friday through Monday.
Throughout the summer, racing will typically take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Closing weekend, which will be the Labor Day holiday weekend, the season will end with the annual, $3 million, 440-yard All-American Futurity for 2-year-old quarter horses races. There will be 47 race dates in total.
On Friday and Saturday there will be 15 trials each for the Ruidoso Futurity finals. On Sunday there will be 10 trials for the Ruidoso Derby.
The five fastest horses from Friday’s races and the five fastest horses from Saturday will qualify for the Ruidoso Futurity. The 10 fastest horses Sunday will qualify for the Ruidoso Derby.
Among the top 2-year-old horses running Friday and Saturday are: Laveen Eagle, winner of two races at Turf Paradise in Arizona; Cyber Attack, who was purchased last year in Ruidoso for $400,000; Political Royalty, a $250,000 purchase last year and PYC Avenue, who has won all three career starts at Remington Park in Oklahoma for trainer Santos Carrizales, Jr.
Among the top 3-year-olds running on Sunday are KJ Desparado and Jess Savin Candy. KJ Desparado won last year’s All American Futurity and Jess Savin Candy won the Ruidoso and Rainbow Futurities and was fourth in the All American Futurity.
KJ Desparado won last year’s All American Futurity and Jess Savin Candy won the Ruidoso and Rainbow Futurities and was fourth in the All American Futurity.
“KJ Desparado has been training well and as a team we are eager to see him run again,” trainer Wesley Giles said. “This will be his first race of the year and we’ll see how it goes for him. We’re excited for the summer of racing. There are always so many great horses and lots of unknowns going into the first weekend of racing. “
Other top 3-year-olds include Thrown Sumoke, who was second in the West Texas Derby at Sunland Park, Lethal Avenger, who won the West Texas Derby at Sunland Park, Sippin Hayden, who ran third in last year’s All American Futurity and FDD Scout, who ran second in last year’s All American Futurity.
The Ruidoso Futurity and Ruidoso Derby are the first leg of the Quarter Horse Triple Crown for 2-year-old and 3-year-old quarter horses respectively.
Post times Friday and Saturday will be at noon and on Sunday, the first post time is 1 pm There will also a Monday racing card, which begins at 1 pm
Other key dates this summer
† June 11 will be the final for the Ruidoso Derby.
† June 12 will be the final for the Ruidoso Futurity.
† July 8-9 will be trials for the Rainbow Futurity.
† July 10 will be the trials for the Rainbow Derby.
† July 23 will be the final for the Rainbow Derby.
† July 24 will be the final for the Rainbow Futurity.
† August 6-7 will be the annual Zia Days of racing for New Mexico-bred horses competing in various stakes races.
† Aug. 19-20 will be the trials for the All American Futurity.
† Aug. 21 will be the trials for the All American Derby.
† Sept. 4 will be the final for the All American Derby.
† Sept. 5 will be the final for the All American Futurity and All American Gold Cup.
Top trainers and jockeys
Ruidoso draws the best horses in the quarter horse world, but also brings in the top jockeys and trainers of the quarter horse. Among the top jockeys, who will ride in Ruidoso are Sergio Becerra, Jr., Noe Garcia, Jr, Bryan Candanosa, Ricky Ramirez, Adrian Ramos, Tanner Thedford, Rodrigo Sigala-Vallejo, Eduardo Nicasio and Francisco Calderon.
Among the top trainers are: Heath Taylor, Clinton Crawford, Trey Wood, Michael Joiner, John Stinebaugh, Wesley Giles, Eric Valenzuela and Toby Keeton.
Hall of Fame induction
Members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 will be honored at a banquet on July 8.
Among the honorees are the horse First Moonflash, breeder Gwendolyn Eaves, trainer Fred Danely, jockey Gary Sumpter, trainer Steve Asmussen and longtime supporter of horse racing, the late Walt Wiggins, Sr.
Parking, free admission
General admission parking and general admission seating is free, but valet parking and entrance into the turf club will typically have a cost attached to it. For more information on turf club seating call (575) 378-4431.
There will be several non-horse racing events held at the racetrack throughout the summer.
† May 27-29 will be the Heritage Antique Show and Sale, beginning at 10 am each day.
† June 3-5 will be the Tacos and Tequila Festival. The festival will be from noon-9 pm on June 3-4 and from noon-5 pm on June 5.
† Jun 17-18 a Pro-Am boxing show will take place. On Friday, June 17 the amateurs take center age and on Saturday, June 18, the professional boxers will compete. Fights starts at 6 pm both nights.
† July 9-30 will be the summer Concert Series. On each Saturday in July, there will be live music. On July 9, it will Jason Boland and The Stranglers and Tanner Ursey. On July 16, it will be Stoney Larue, On July 23 it will be the Josh Abbott Band and on July 30, it will be Jake Hooker and the Outsiders along with Will Banister.
† Aug. 12-14 will be the City Bank Chile The Kid Beer & Wine Festival. On Aug. 12-13, the festival will be from 11 am-9 pm and on Aug. 14, it will be from 11am-6pm
More: KJ Desparado wins All American Futurity
Felix F. Chavez may be reached at 915-546-6167; firstname.lastname@example.org; @Fchavezeptimes on Twitter.